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  • Daniel Batty

Nigerian Hate Speech Bill

In November 2019 Nigerian Senator Aliyu Abdullahi proposed the National

Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speeches Bill, 2019. The Bill has proven to

be controversial, however Senator Abdullahi maintains that the Bill is necessary to

curb hate speech which the Senator holds as a cause of depression and suicide in

Nigeria. 


The initial reading of the Bill included the death penalty as a sanction for hate speech

which results in a loss of life. However, following both political and community

backlash the death penalty was removed. 


Critics of the Bill claim that it is a move to censor social media and freedom of

expression in Nigeria. Despite the mounting criticism, Minister of Information and

Culture, Lai Mohammed, reaffirmed the government’s desire to regulate social media

in order to curb false news and hate speech.


The Bill has passed its first reading in Parliament in 2019 and faced a public hearing

in early February 2020. At the hearing the Bill was presented to the public and expert

panellists including former Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights

Commission (NHRC), Professor Chidi Odinkalu. The panellists resoundingly

shunned the Bill as being tailored to curb freedom of expression.


The Bill has yet to undergo its second reading in Parliament and no date has yet

been revealed for the second reading. However, the Bill will inevitably undergo some

changes.

Disclaimer: the information contained in this Insight is for awareness and discussion purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For any enquiries, please get in touch at base@endcode.org

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